Groovy, momentous and monstrous garage-rock refinement…

When momentum is in full swing on Frankie and the Witch Fingers’ ‘Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters’ it is boundless. In a greenhorn’s hands, this fired-up haste could be a ghastly listening experience, but fortunately, the L.A.-based foursome handles abundant vigour with a supreme deftness, which they honed to a superlunar level on 2019’s ‘ZAM’. Like its predecessor, ‘MEPEM’ continues to shed further layers of the band’s lo-fi garage- rock-of-yore DNA in favour of a richer and groovier psychedelia, but most importantly, it is a more polished manifestation of their own sound, and never has it been this thick.

‘Activate’ commences the album’s temporally tempestuous tones with its tribal percussion, sonically arching guitars, and roaming bass before ‘Reaper’ lands with a restrained yet salacious groove, which allows for a quick breath before it dishes out a monstrous sleight of hand: a thundering and screeching bridge that puts the listener’s aural safety in fatal jeopardy.

Their affinity for the relentless is assuaged by a duo of palate cleansers, little ditties at the halfway mark that serve two purposes: ‘Michaeldose’ is a prophecy for what lies ahead, and ‘Can You Hear Me Now’ is a vestige of who they once were. Both are wholly necessary, as ‘Simulator’ (arguably the spiritual successor of ‘Activate’) and ‘Cavehead’ shift things back into overdrive.

Seams are seldom between tracks. The album is a solid mass and is crafted to be consumed as such. Their swing into a funkier realm is clearly on display here, but their garage bedrock is still the foundation on which they build their ever-promising future. If ‘MEPEM’ isn’t the immense leap forward for the band that ‘ZAM’ was, it still serves up a hefty dose of promise for what lies imminently ahead, and it is damn loud enough to keep our ears tuned to their frequency in the mean-time.

7/10

Words: James Ewen

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